By Frank Moher
Hmm. What is this doing on the website of our public broadcaster?
The article I have linked to on the CBC site is a product of its agreement with The National Post to jointly cover the Olympics. It appeared in the Post first, and from there was syndicated to the website they have collaboratively created for the games, Vancouver Now.
As a piece of reporting, it is precisely what we expect from The National Post: a commingling of news and political purpose — in this case to deride the Olympic protest movement. It does so using the usual tactics: a snide tone, imputation of motives, loaded language. (The anarchists who broke windows are “thugs” and “the rabble.”) And, of course, contained within the pages of the Post, it’s relatively harmless, as we know this is the sort of thing they do.
But does the CBC really mean, in its turn, to host an article mocking public dissent, not just of the florid kind, but in its genteel, middle-class, let’s-have-a-march-but-keep-it-polite iteration also? Bob Ages, a spokesperson for the Olympic Resistance Network and member of that well-know radical cell, The Council of Canadians, tells the Post‘s reporter/pamphleteer Brian Hutchinson that the ORN has “an agreement not to criticize each other in public. That’s not to say there isn’t internal criticism, but we’re not going to dump on the young people.” This is used to suggest that the protest movement has “unravelled” and is beset by “internal dissent” (the hed on the Post article, which, mercifully, does not make it over to the CBC site).
Is this the CBC’s stance towards the exercise of democratic rights? If so, it places itself in a league with Fox News. If not, is it paying any attention any more to what ends up on its website? Of course, the CBC is just as welcome as any other news organization to host strong comment, as it does. But Hutchinson`s piece wasn`t conceived as comment, and sticking it into the Blogs section of the Vancouver Now site doesn`t make it so.
So, fellow taxpayers, your money is now being used to tell you that the next time you think about getting uppity, you`d better think twice. This probably isn`t what the CBC intends. But it is, I`m afraid, what it is doing.